Tuesday, July 22, 2014

eden girl: month 1

 Some of my favorite pictures from Eden girl's first month. 
 We love her so.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

an ode to the michigan summer

I was just telling erick the other night that I feel like this summer is different. Mind you, having a baby is probably the most different thing about this summer. And the best thing. I love watching my Eden girl experience michigan summers even now at just 3 1/2 months old.
I am sure that will be one of my favorite things to continue to watch her experience as she grows.

I am not sure how other people do summer in other states. I'm not sure if there is as much fan-fair when summer arrives in warmer climates.
But, in Michigan, we take summer seriously.
We do spend a lot of our time experiencing snow and rain (in the spring) and cold and more snow.
When those summer days appear out of no where (and michigan summers do appear out of no where) it's like a much awaited party.

And there are fond memories all tucked into those warmer and sunnier days.

summer in the mitten is:
longer days that roll into longer nights.
the faint smell of campfire smoke in the air. it wafts through the countryside and hangs low. and welcomes you in.

it's long evening drives that start out with a plan and end up lacking a plan.
a cd filled with meticulously composed songs. like clockwork every season. courtesy of your brother.
it's thoughtful and thoughtless discussions on a deck that is weathered and cracking in all the right places.

summer in the mitten is:
walking down driveways on dusty dirt roads trying to see all the constellations. all the bright lights of the deep and dark (sometimes midnight blue) sky.
it's trips to Lake Michigan. however we can get there. for however long.

summer in the mitten is:
exploring and hiking and getting lost because some of the greatest places in this state don't show up on a gps.
it's mint chocolate chip ice cream and fountain pops in foam cups.
s'mores in the middle of a driveway in the middle of a city.
it's bombing around in a car called "mable" listening to music so loud you can't hear. windows rolled down because the AC is out. and has been for quite sometime. but your brother is with you, so it is the best of times.

summer in the mitten is:
running around with a dog all fluffy and golden chasing a soccer ball through grass.
birds greeting you in sun splitting mornings and saying goodbye to you in the hazy evenings.
it's biking farther than you knew you could and longer than you know you should.
it's taking on downtowns in quaint towns that become busier in a few months than they are all year.
sand dunes. upon sand dunes. upon some more sand dunes. and in a moment of glory, believing that you can really climb them all.

summer in the mitten is home.
for a short time.
and a moment.

some of the mitten places pictured:

Mt. Pisgah Dune Boardwalk

Empire (Sleeping Bear Dunes Lakeshore)

Grass River Natural Area

Holland, Michigan

Sleeping Bear Dunes

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Eden's Birth Story Pt. 2

We left the doctor's office that day in a slight state of shock. I was ordered to be on complete bed rest.
 I wasn't admitted to the hospital at that time because I didn't have any of the danger symptoms of preeclampsia. I prayed for peace. I prayed for strength. Even if I didn't feel ready or prepared I knew God could work over those things. He could work in spite of my fluctuating emotions. 

I quickly contacted my parents via a message through Facebook because they had internet access while on their cruise. They were not due to be back on land until that Sunday. I had no idea if they would be able to make it home for the birth of their first grandchild. And that was hard to swallow. 

 I kept on checking my phone all day hoping my parent's would get my message soon. I eventually received a call from them. The cruise boat personnel were so helpful and allowed them to use their phone and aided them in getting off the boat.
My mom told me later that they were off the boat exploring when I messaged them but she felt a burden to keep praying for me all day. As soon as they got back on the ship they checked to see if they had any messages.They literally only had an hour to pack up their stuff and get off the boat onto the island they were docked at to be able to fly back to the states. If my appointment had not been scheduled for the early morning or they had taken more time on the island....they would have never made it back.
My parent's were back home in a matter of 24 hours. 

I spent the next few days completely in bed. Only getting up for short amounts of time. 
On Wednesday night I started to experience this odd sensation in my shoulder up into my chest and neck. Like an aching that was extremely uncomfortable and hard for me to explain. I tried to shower that evening and felt extremely faint and weak. I was so miserable that late in the evening I had Erick call an on call doctor. I hate being over dramatic about things...and I didn't want to go to the hospital if it was unnecessary. But, if this doctor recommended that I admit myself then I was ready. I was in that much pain. The doctor asked if I had some of the key symptoms of preeclampsia like blurred vision or a headache. And I didn't. So, he said I should be fine to stay home. 
I look back on that now and firmly believe I should have just trusted my instincts and went. 

Thursday and Friday passed and every night I would start to experience those exact same symptoms. I was taking one Tylenol at night when they started so I could even sleep. 
By the time Saturday morning came along I was extremely uncomfortable. The aching in my shoulder and neck was pretty strong. I remember trying to get things around for the hospital and I was just in a lot of discomfort. I moved very slowly. I eventually laid down in bed and just prayed for peace. And relief.

My parents arrived at our home a little early. My c-section wasn't scheduled until 5:00 pm that evening. Which added to my torture. Irony, I tell you. 

When it was finally time to leave I can honestly say I was in the height of discomfort.
All the way to the hospital (a 35 minute drive) I was pretty much silent. When I am fearful and/or uncomfortable I tend to say less. I just prayed. And prayed. And meditated on God's Word. This all felt so familiar and odd because of my surgery in December.

We arrived at the hospital and I thought the process of checking in went quite fast. I was taken back to a room (by myself) and had to go through the whole prep process. You know, putting on the gown. Bagging up my clothes. When the nurse hooked me up to the monitoring system they used for the Non Stress Tests she looked at me quite puzzled.
She was like, "Ummm....you do know you are having contractions right now, don't you?"
"Pretty strong ones"
Welp. That explains my growing discomfort. But, with the aching in my shoulder and down my chest, I really was not that aware of them.

Everything after that seemed to speed up. Mind you, at the time, it couldn't have been fast enough.
Erick got to come back and my mom as well. The rest of the family was having a grand old time in the waiting room of course. My doctor ordered blood work immediately to see what was going on.
 My doctor, Erick, and my mom prayed over me.
(I would later find out that I was in the HELLP stage of preeclampsia at this point. And the pain I was experiencing in my shoulder and chest was my liver. I was on Magnesium for about 48 hours after Eden arrived because the preeclampsia actually got worse after she was born. Magnesium is used to prevent a seizure. I had elevated liver enzymes and a low platelet count.)

I walked down the hallway into the delivery room. You know, this is the part where your husband has to wait outside again. And I got to sit on a table and hug a pillow and get a needle placed in my back. I remember laying down and waiting for the epidural to start taking effect. They put that nice long curtain up in front of your face and begin to prep everything. I was then pinched multiple times on my stomach just to make sure I couldn't feel pain just pressure. Check.

Erick came back in and by that point I was shaking and starting to cry. Nerves. I tell you what. Erick held my hand as I tried to ignore what was going on. It's a weird feeling knowing you are being cut open....but not feeling or seeing it. I asked Erick to pray. Over me. Over our baby.
I laid there grasping his hand as he began to pray.

So quickly they announced they were getting ready to pull Eden girl out. Erick stood up so he could see and I could hear her let out her first little cry.
 I instantly started bawling.
 She was here!
Erick went over to cut the cord and get pictures of her arrival.
Around this time I was puking from the nausea related to the epidural. Just keeping it real.

They brought Eden over to me so I could see her. It was so quick. But, I could hear her breathing next to my face and I couldn't stop crying tears of joy. The emotion when you first see your baby. I can not explain it.
I heard the head nurse in the team specifically taking care of Eden say it was time to go.
She was being whisked away to the NICU. My baby girl.

Erick went out soon after that. They were finishing stitching me up. I distinctly remember laying there. All the emotions. But so much joy. After this long road.
Coldplay's "Magic" came over the radio at that point in the delivery room. 
And it seemed quite fitting.

(read part 1 here)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Eden's Birth Story Pt. 1

After everything that happened in December with my surgery to remove a tumor in my left ovary, I was definitely less active for a couple months. Trying to recover and heal while simultaneously carrying a baby in an ever growing stomach is not the easiest thing I have ever done. 
But, I was hopeful that we were going to finish well. 

I started experiencing some swelling in my feet and legs not too long after that. It was if I turned the corner into the third trimester and I instantly started retaining water. I just tried to pace myself and keep my feet up as often as I could. But, as I started to rapidly grow (mostly retaining water) it became harder for me to stand for long periods of time because the swelling never really went down in my feet and legs. 

It was definitely humorous watching me try to get into bed at night between my incision on my stomach that was still healing and my ever growing situation. I think I had pillows stuffed in every nook and cranny. And there was plenty of awkward adjusting. As the weeks went on I didn't have one pair of shoes that I could get on my feet. God bless my husband who was putting on my shoes since December. 

My doctor started me on NSTs (non stress tests) at the hospital early on to monitor the baby's heartbeat and movement. This is a precautionary measure for high risk pregnancies. And being that I have Type 1 Diabetes, I got to be in that category. 

The irony in the name of these tests is not lost on me. Because I was anything but "not stressed" during them. Matter of fact, it was quite the opposite. 

During one of the tests, my blood pressure came back very high. The nurses thought it would be wise to do some blood work and an urine sample. My urine came back with some protein in it so they sent me home with a 24 hour urine test and a lab work order to do over the weekend, and I would report back Monday.

And so after a long weekend of trying to give my worry to God and taking inventory of my urine I headed to my next test that following Monday. I should mention here that Erick and I were staying at my parent's house during this time. They were on a cruise and we often stay at their house while they are on vacation to watch the animals and take care of things.

In what I believe to be God's providence, I had all my doctor appointments scheduled out until Eden's due date. And it just so happened that I had an appointment with my doctor scheduled for that Tuesday.
He could look at my results from the following tests that were taken.

When Erick and I stepped into the doctor's office that Tuesday, we really had no idea what to expect. I knew something wasn't right and I had been trying to take it easy over the weekend.
There I sat on the patient table as my doctor calmly explained to me that my 24 hour urine test came back showing I was spilling a significant amount of protein in my urine.
I had preeclampsia. And it was serious.
He explained that Eden needed to come out.

 I don't think I could have prepared myself for what he said next as he was flipping through the calendar. Eden was going to be delivered that Saturday.
At not quite 35 weeks.
4 days left.

The look that Erick and I shared in that moment was probably priceless. My brain could not process. She wasn't due until May. And my parents were on a boat somewhere in the Caribbean. I had so much that wasn't done for her arrival. And we were both not exactly safe at the moment in my current health situation.
I wanted to cry. Not again.
I knew in that moment that I had a choice to walk the last few days with Eden in my tummy in fear.
Or I could walk them in faith.
Trusting that even though I didn't know what to do I could keep my eyes on the One who did.

Eden girl was getting ready to make her debut into this world.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Welcome, Eden Girl

It's been a little silent around here. 
And that's mostly because a certain little girl has arrived and is filling up my days so full that there hasn't been much time to think of outside things. 

Eden Marie came into this world on March 29th, 2014 at 5:17 PM weighing 7 lbs. 9 oz. and 19 inches long.
Her story is nothing short of miraculous. All the way around. With layers upon layers of grace. And I've been peeling them off, very slowly, for the last few months that she has been home with us. 
We love her so. 

I hope to share her story as the days go on.
Mostly because her little life already declares God's goodness. At least to me. 
I look at her and it's being spoken to me in her tiny little being.
welcome, little Eden girl.

Monday, February 10, 2014

my pregnancy essentials

Well, I have officially entered the third trimester of this pregnancy.
And I can honestly say there is a very surreal feeling that surrounds that realization.
We are in the final stretch! Quite literally if we are considering my stomach right now.
And with that somewhat imaginary line of "crossing over" into this last trimester I have officially acquired some fatigue, indigestion, and the cankles.
I mean, would this be a legitimate experience if I didn't get the cankles? At the end of the day, my puffy ankles are just humorous and they add some comic relief to the otherwise more uncomfortable conditions.

So, when I look back at my pregnancy (so far) there are definitely a few things that I consider to be pretty wonderful. And I thought I would share a few of those things on here.
All you mommas out there, what were/are some of the things you considered to be "essentials" during your pregnancy?
Also, cankle stories are encouraged and appreciated.

1 // Wen Cleansing Conditioner. I started enjoying the benefits of this stuff before my pregnancy. But, it really just feels like I am pampering myself, which is a plus during these months when I haven't exactly felt one hundred percent. The smells are soothing. My hair is healthier, grows faster, and I have found that I don't need a trim as often as a result of split ends.

2 // Clementines. Citrus in general. I feel obsessed because it always sounds good. Matter of fact, during the first trimester when I was struggling with nausea, grapefruits and oranges where one of the few things that always seemed to settle well on my stomach. 

3 // L'occitane Organic Pure Shea Butter. This stuff is amazing. I have been using it all over my tummy to prevent stretch marks and to battle the extreme dryness of winter. A little goes a long way. It also soothes the itchiness that my stretched skin has started to experience. Not to mention, I use it around my scar on my stomach from my recent surgery and it does not irritate my super sensitive skin.

4 // KIND bars. These are the perfect snack. Especially because I personally feel like I am eating something small every couple hours. I find them to be quite filling and they are gluten free. Plus, with my diabetes constantly changing at this point in my pregnancy, I really appreciate that they don't spike my blood sugar (I tend to eat the ones without a lot of fruit).

5 // Burt's Bees Hydrating Lip Balm. It's winter. My lips are constantly in need of moisture. And I really have no idea if this has anything to do with my pregnancy. But, I have used this product pretty much every day for the last couple months. It's especially necessary before I apply any lipstick to my lips. Plus it smells like coconut and pear. So there's that. 

6 // A Notebook. Preferably a compact one that can be stuffed into a purse at a moments notice. I am a list person. And I like to write my lists out every day. And cross things off.  Pregnancy has only brought that tendency out even more (helllloooo nesting). Especially when it comes to keeping track of things I needed to register for and all those doctor appointments. It's the simplest thing and yet it has provided me with a whole lot of sanity to have one notebook that I can go to for all things baby girl.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

favorite posts of 2013

I spent some time looking back at posts from this past year. It is slightly baffling to me how much I forget about where I have been and the things that God has taught me along the way.
So, I thought I would compile a list of my favorite posts that I have written during this past year of 2013. 
More for the sake of remembering and reflecting. 
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